Bunions, blisters, ankle pain, oh my! Whether you suffer from foot, knee or back pain, many of your struggles may be caused by what’s on your feet. Julia Berry reported in Science Weeklythat almost all foot ailments are caused by poorly fitting shoes. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that every mile a person walks puts 60 tons of stress on each foot. That’s a lot of pressure no matter how you look at it.
December 21, 2009
So how do you find the shoes that are best for you? Before you purchase shoes, go to an athletic specialty store or a shoe store where the sales associates are trained to help you find the perfect fit, not just sell you the most expensive pair in the store. Have your bare foot measured, and make sure the salesperson takes note of anything unique to your foot, including bunions, calluses and the shape of your foot’s arch. This is according to Craig McVey, cross country coach at the University of Albany, as reported by Tom Keyser for the Albany Union Times. McVey notes that you should look for shoes that are designed for the activity you want, because not all shoes were born equal. Jogging requires a different type of shoe than would be needed for standing in a classroom all day.
Things to know before buying a shoe:
Most people naturally walk in a way that may not be supportive of their joints and back. Many have an arch in their foot that causes them to over pronate, meaning to turn the foot slightly inward during walking. This can cause pain in the shins and knees. Many others supinate, meaning they roll their step toward the outside of their foot, which can also cause pain. In either case, making sure the shoe has enough support will help to reduce stress to ankles, knees, hips and back muscles, says Betsy Hughes, co-owner of the Track Shack in Orlando, Fla. She stresses the need to make sure the person fitting your feet is aware of your natural step and can find shoes with the right arch support, ankle stability and toe room for you.
When buying a shoe, these tips are offered by Dr. Adam C. Brown, DPM, and Dr. Andrew D. Saffer, DPM, of Carolina Foot Specialists in Charleston, S.C.:
· Get fitted often; your feet change as you age, becoming wider, narrower, and changing in arch height.
· Fit your shoes to the larger foot.
· If the shoe is too tight, don’t buy it. There’s no “breaking in” period in today’s shoe technology.
· Shop at the end of the day because feet will be slightly swollen after standing or other activities throughout the day, and you won’t buy shoes that are later uncomfortable or too small.
· If you are prone to ankle strain, buy shoes with a high back for ankle support.
The biggest mistake many people make is purchasing shoes based on how they look rather than how they feel. Decisions like this can cause inflammation of toe joints, have some toes overgrow each other in the shoes, lead to hammer toes or claw toes, or encourage ingrown toenails. Make sure your feet are happy under all the pressure you put on them by following these simple steps!